Death toll from US drone strike in Pakistan rises to 26: officials

A file photo of a RQ-4 Global Hawk drone is conducting tests over Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, US in this undated US Navy photo. (Reuters)
Updated 17 October 2017

Death toll from US drone strike in Pakistan rises to 26: officials

PESHAWAR, Pakistan: The death toll from a US drone attack on a compound used by the Taliban-allied Haqqani network has risen to 26, officials said Tuesday, less than a week after a US-Canadian family held captive by the militants was rescued.
The barrage on Monday targeted a meeting of Haqqani fighters in Pakistan’s remote tribal Kurram district along the Afghan border in the deadliest attack on the group this year.
“First drone strike killed five fighters from Haqqani network and minutes apart a second drone then fired two more missiles after militants arrived to retrieve dead bodies from the rubble,” a senior government official in Kurram told AFP Tuesday.
“So far 26 dead bodies have been retrieved and drones are still flying in the sky,” the official said.
The US has increased pressure on Pakistan in recent months to crack down on the outfit.
A second government official in Kurram confirmed the drone strikes and the new death toll.
Both officials said the strikes took place on the border with Afghanistan, with part of the compound sited in Afghan territory.
The Haqqanis are one of the strongest factions in the Afghan Taliban insurgency and have earned a fearsome reputation for their vicious attacks on NATO troops and Afghan installations over the years.
The group has long been suspected of having ties to Pakistan’s shadowy security establishment, souring relations with Washington.
Islamabad has repeatedly denied the accusations of turning a blind eye to militancy, lambasting the United States for ignoring the thousands who have been killed on its soil and the billions spent fighting extremists.
Canadian hostage Joshua Boyle and his American wife and three children were freed on October 11 in Pakistan after five years of captivity at the hands of the Haqqani network.


Trump calls for investigation into allegations of voter fraud in Minnesota

Updated 43 min 11 sec ago

Trump calls for investigation into allegations of voter fraud in Minnesota

  • Right-wing website claims activists linked to Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s campaign are involved in illegal ‘ballet harvesting’

US: US President Donald Trump on Monday called on the Justice Department to investigate allegations of illegal voting activity by activists linked to Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s campaign.

The claims were made in a story published on Sunday by right-wing website Project Veritas, the founder and CEO of which is Conservative activist James O’Keefe. It alleges that workers with connections to Omar were involved in illegal “ballot harvesting” in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, which she has represented since 2019, and that some voters were paid to vote for Democratic candidates.

Ballot harvesting refers to a practice in which a third party collects completed absentee ballots from voters’ homes and drops them off at polling stations. This is not illegal in many states, but there are often limits on how many ballots one person can harvest.

In a message posted on Twitter, Trump said: “This is totally illegal. Hope that the U.S. Attorney in Minnesota has this, and other of her many misdeeds, under serious review??? If not, why not???”

The Project Veritas story, which was published on the same day as the New York Times published details of Trump’s tax returns, includes details of a series of videos it said was posted on Snapchat in early July by Liban Mohammed, the brother of Minneapolis City Council member Jamal Osman. In them, he talks about harvesting ballots to help his brother in an Aug. 11 city council election.

He said, in a mix of English and Somali: “Money is everything. Money is the king in this world. If you got no money, you should not be here, period. You know what i am saying? Money is everything and a campaign is managed by money … numbers do not lie. Numbers do not lie.

“You can see my car is full. All these here are absentee ballots … all of these are for Jamal Osman. Look, look. Just today we got 300 (ballots) for Jamal Osman.”

O’Keefe claimed that the extent of the ballot harvesting was astounding.

“Ballot harvesting is real and it has become a big business,” he said. “Our investigation into this ballot-harvesting ring demonstrates clearly how these unscrupulous operators exploit the elderly and immigrant communities — and have turned the sacred ballot box into a commodities trading desk.

“We are showing Americans what is really going on in one of our great cities — but, it's not me saying — we have the operators on tape saying it all themselves.”

Last month, Omar won the 5th Congressional District’s Democratic Primary and will face Republican Lacy Johnson in the Nov. 3, 2020 General Election. The district — which was previously held by Keith Ellison, who is now Minnesota’s Attorney General — is overwhelmingly Democratic and Omar is expected to easily win.

Omar’s office did not respond to a request for a comment about the Project Veritas story. Newsweek reported that a spokesperson for the congresswoman stated that Mohammed does not work for her.

In response to Trump’s tweet, Omar wrote: “Years of tax evasion … Trying to rush through the confirmation of a right-wing extremist Supreme Court nominee … Lies and inaction that have lead to the preventable deaths of 200,000 people. This is what we’re up against. Stay focused.”

Minnesota is one of several “battleground states” in the upcoming presidential election, in which the result is expected to be very close. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won the state with 46.4 percent of the vote to Trump’s 44.9 percent — a difference of only 44,593 votes.